Details are beginning to emerge of some of the issues confronting 16-year-old Chante Natasha Yarde before she reportedly took her own life.
The teenager was discovered by her mother hanging from a rafter in their home at Mission Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael sometime after seven on Friday night.
It is believed she committed suicide. However police are continuing their investigations into her death.
Barbados TODAY visited the area several times between Friday night and Monday only to find that the house where she lived was shut and uninhabited. Monday the gap was virtually abandoned with no more than two elderly women and one man walking the road, with one of the women simply advising that no one was home.
However, posts on Yarde’s now seemingly deleted Facebook page told a tale of a teenager with a lot on her mind.
In a thread with a male said to be Yarde’s best friend, the teenager asked if “you realize a lot of people at school used to insult me for various reasons?”
When her friend attempted to reassure her by telling her it was because she was pretty, Yarde responded, “I don’t think I’m pretty”.
During the conversation she also indicated that she did not make friends at school.
Following Yarde’s death, the friend also posted an angry message on Facebook, accusing unnamed people of bullying the child which “drive her to this”.
The post and the thread have also been deleted.
Monday, counsellor Shawn Clarke told Barbados TODAY he had seen the teenager’s page and had sensed a cry for help that no one had taken seriously.
“I would have been privileged to have a look at the young lady’s Facebook page and what I saw there, I could tell that as far back as April or May 2016, this young lady would have been posting a number of things that would indicate that she was extremely depressed. She was crying out for help. A lot of images about being extremely low-keyed. I saw one asking ‘would I be missed if I died?’ Those kinds of things. So you can see this is a young lady who was depressed for a long time, and it’s sad that adults or those on her Facebook page never saw the need to look into to her posts and find out why she was making such posts and find out what is going on with her,” Clarke said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Counselling Services also felt the child had been a victim of bullying.
“It seems to have been an ongoing battle. A comment made by one of her friends, asking why she was always by herself and saying she never came out to play with them, this could indicate some level of bullying in terms of social isolation. Why a young girl who was into dancing or so never had that much friends? Why that young lady based on what I read, never went out in the community and socialized? It’s unfortunate.”
Clarke said this was a lesson to adults and communities to be more vigilant to ensure they are aware of what is going on with the young people.
“We need to hear the unspoken word. Here’s a young lady who has been crying out for help but not really speaking it verbally, but sending messages loud and clear through her Facebook page. And these were message that everyone either overlooked or they went over everyone’s head. It is room for concern that our parents need to be more vigilant and our communities need to be vigilant with what is happening with our young people. Too many of our young people are depressed and you often hear parents say, ‘what he or she has to be depressed about? They’re sent to school, food is on the table, he gets what he or she wants’, but there’re so many things our young people are battling with nowadays,” the counsellor said.
Clarke also urged parents and guardians not to see counselling as something bad, and urged them to use the services of professionals to help young people who might be having a tough time.
“Counselling is not a bad word, and I find in Barbados and in the Caribbean, people shy away from counselling. As soon as they hear counsellor they seem to think there is something mentally wrong or there is some kind of mental deficiency with the child. That is not what it is at all. It is helping someone help themselves come up with solutions to solve their concerns or problems. They need to seek the professional help to help young people cope with everyday living,” he said.
In addition, Clarke said the society also needed to teach young people how to be
“We have to teach them to get up and talk. Come and tell us what is wrong with you. When young people know that they have that avenue, they can open up and they would talk. Find a trusted adult that you can talk to. ‘This is what is happening to me’ and so on, so that they can get the help they need.
“Our young people are going through a whole lot, and I’m not sure we as adults fully understand the magnitude of what our young people are going through,” Clarke added.